MTN fights rivals for licence renewal

By:
Natalie Bannerman
Published on:

MTN Uganda faces opposition to its licence renewal by the WASPA-U which accuses the telco of several violations

MTN Uganda is in a dispute with its rivals to secure the renewal of its licence which expires this year, says The Independent.

MTN Uganda currently holds a 55% share of the market, which amounts to approximately 11.2 million subscribers accumulated over a 20 year period.

The Wireless Applications and Service Providers Association of Uganda (WASPA-U) petitioned president Yoweri Museveni, parliament and the Uganda Communications Commission  asking them to probe MTN over alleged violations, before agreeing to renew its licence. It was in December that MTN applied to renew its licence for ten more years, at which point the UCC invited any objections ahead of its evaluation report on MTN, to be unveiled on 13 February before a public hearing on the matter on 26 February.

According to allafrica, excerpts from the letter to Museveni reads: "WASPA-U also used to employ in excess of 400 youths, mostly young IT graduates and software engineers. However, MTN's impunity and not being committed to compliance, disregarding rules and regulations of Uganda, brought this to almost zero as they grabbed resources of the local companies, and illegally withholding share revenues to them." It also says that it represents a total of over 60 ICT companies.

Attached to the letter, WASPA-U included a petition that accuses MTN of several violations, including: under declaring revenues, unethical business practices, anti-competition behaviour, illegal takeover of their businesses, violation of laws and withholding of payments to local companies.

MTN has come under fire in the past from African regulators. In 2014, the Nigerian Communications Commission fined MTN, as well as other operators, for failing to meet performance indicators or poor quality of service.

In 2015, the Nigerian Communications Commission fined MTN $5.2 billion for failing to disconnect users with unregistered SIM cards.

And in 2016 the Nigerian Communications Commission placed and then lifted sanctions on MTN for 24 infractions that were discovered by the Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Team of the commission.